One of the most challenging aspects of fasting during Ramadan can be keeping energy levels up throughout the day, especially since most of us are working and at our most active during fasting hours.
It’s even tougher when many of our most common energy-boosting go-tos, like grabbing a cup of coffee or a quick snack, or even having a glass of water, aren’t options if you’re fasting during Ramadan. Even trying to get more sleep can be challenging when you’re trying to incorporate early morning prayers into your Ramadan routine. Fortunately, there are plenty of other things you can do to keep your energy levels up, and we’re sharing our favourite fasting-friendly energy-boosters here to help you get through to iftar time!
Stress saps your energy. When you’re stressed, your heart beats faster, blood rushes to your muscles to help them move faster and your blood pressure rises. All this burns more calories and uses up more of your energy stores than you would when you’re relaxed. When you notice you’re starting to feel stressed, take a few moments to engage in a de-stressing activity. Anything from meditation, spending a few moments outside, watching a funny video on YouTube, or chatting with some friends. It can even be as simple as taking a few good deep breaths. You can also repeat an inspirational saying to yourself that reminds you why you’re fasting while you take those deep breaths. Keeping your stress levels down is one of the best ways to keep your energy levels on an even keel.
2. Ask for Help
We all know that the harder we work, the more energy we need, and for many of us – moms especially – our to-do lists are longest at holiday time. Many moms feel like they have to take on the bulk of the housework and holiday tasks, but it doesn’t have to be that way! When you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out and ask for help from family and friends. Not only will this help lighten your workload, but it will make all of Ramadan (including the prep work!) feel like a real family and community effort.
3. Get Moving! (A Little!)
Many of us spend at least part of our fasting hours at work, and that usually means in a chair in front of a computer. You’d think that all that sitting still would make us feel full of energy, given that we’re expending less, but we need some movement to help release hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine that help us feel energized.
But this tip comes with a big caveat: when you’re fasting, you can’t replenish energy stores whenever you want, so this is not the time to go for a big workout. Fortunately, you don’t need to hit the gym to get a movement-induced energy boost. Studies show that going for a 10-minute walk is enough to leave you feeling energized for the next two hours, so going for a short walk or a gentle movement class like slow-paced yoga or tai chi is all you need!
Mild dehydration can result in fatigue, dry mouth, thirst and headaches — so it’s vital to drink enough fluid on a fast.
Most health authorities recommend the 8x8 rule — eight 8-ounce glasses (just under 2 liters in total) of fluid every day — to stay hydrated.
However, the actual amount of fluid you need — although likely in this range — is quite individual.
Because you get around 20–30% of the fluid your body needs from food, it’s quite easy to get dehydrated while on a fast.
During a fast, many people aim to drink 8.5–13 cups (2–3 liters) of water over the course of the day. However, your thirst should tell you when you need to drink more, so listen to your body.
SUMMARY As you meet some of your daily fluid needs through food, you can get dehydrated while fasting. To prevent this, listen to your body and drink when thirsty.
If you fast regularly, you may miss out on essential nutrients.
This is because regularly eating fewer calories makes it harder to meet your nutritional needs.
In fact, people following weight loss diets are more likely to be deficient in a number of essential nutrients like iron, calcium and vitamin B12.
As such, those who fast regularly should consider taking a multivitamin for peace of mind and to help prevent deficiencies.
That said, it’s always best to get your nutrients from whole foods.
SUMMARY Regular fasting may increase your risk of nutritional deficiencies, especially if you are in a calorie deficit. For this reason, some people choose to take a multivitamin.